Taser review doesn’t paint a clear picture, says Federation

Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb has criticised an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) report into the use of Taser saying it doesn’t paint a complete picture.

The IPOC report made 17 recommendations to the College of Policing, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, and the Home Office seeking improvements to national guidance and training; scrutiny and monitoring of Taser use, and data and research.
 
The report came after the IOPC examined 101 of its investigations involving Taser use between 2015 and 2020, a period during which devices were deployed almost 100,000 times.
 
Roger said: "Of course, we welcome reviews into the use of Taser but it needs to be a full and robust review. By examining only 0.1 per cent of all Taser uses, this review doesn’t paint a full picture of Taser and how the devices are used.
 
"Frustratingly, the IOPC never consulted the Police Federation so the views of 130,000 frontline officers are also not taken into account.
 
"Now the IOPC has made 17 recommendations aimed at improving training and guidance, but they’re clearly focused on small and unrepresentative data which doesn’t include good practice elsewhere.
 
"Police officers are highly trained in the use of Taser and there’s always room for improvement. But policing isn’t easy and Taser is a vital piece of equipment which can protect them and the public in a violent situation, and often diffuses an incident without even being deployed."
 
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) national vice-chair, Ché Donald, was also critical that the Federation was left out of the consultation process.
 
He said: "For many years, PFEW has fully supported the IOPC’s desire to seek improvements to national Taser guidance and training. Police officers are the practitioners of Taser and would ultimately be affected by these recommendations if implemented. We are naturally disappointed our 130,000 members were not consulted."
 
Chief Constable Lucy D`Orsi, the NPCC lead for less lethal weapons, has also criticised the review.
 
She said: "Unfortunately, this report by the IOPC is vague, lacks detail, does not have a substantive evidence base and regrettably ignores extensive pieces of work that are already well underway and, indeed, other areas where improvement could be made.
 
"I advised the IOPC of my concerns and am extremely disappointed that it did not engage with policing, attend a Taser training course or consult the national independent experts who we work with whilst undertaking its initial research."
 
In terms of the 101 Taser uses considered, she added: "Focusing on these smaller number of cases missed an opportunity to consider Taser use more broadly and unfortunately has resulted in recommendations which are mostly out of date and not based on the realities of policing. The focus on such a small data set ignores good practice and learning elsewhere."